It’s been confirmed that over the weekend Google launched a Core Ranking Algorithm Update. We last saw a confirmed core update in May 2015 (one of the first of its kind), which is essentially an update that focuses on how Google assesses quality. In the past this was sometimes referred to as a Quality Update.
Unlike Penguin or Panda, which are filters, the Core Update focuses on how it analyzes quality signals; meaning the weight for certain factors they’ve used to assess quality in the past may have changed with the Update. Unfortunately this is all we knew last time and it’s all we know this time around, but you can learn more about improving the quality of your website in relation to the last update here. So why does it matter?
What You Need to Know about Google’s Latest Core Algorithm Update
Whenever you hear “algorithm update” it’s important that you look at your rankings and your metrics carefully to see if you were affect either positively or negatively. Manual action penalties will give you a warning if you’ve been hit, but the only way to know if you’ve been hit by an algorithmic update is to simply keep track of industry news and understand what Google changed. This news is no different when it comes to evaluating your website, so check out three things you need to know about the update below:
The Update was confirmed by Google on Twitter.
According to SEO expert Barry Schwartz, Zined Ait Bahajji, Gary Illyes, and John Mueller confirmed the update on Twitter this past Friday. Below is a screenshot from Gary Illyes answering a Webmaster about what he saw:
As discussed above, May of this past year, 2015, was essentially the first time Google ever confirmed a core algorithm update, so it’s a big deal that Google admitted to this update and gave Webmasters this information. This was likely because the update was so massive, which brings us to our next point.
It’s called a “Massive Update” by experts.
Although we still don’t have any numbers regarding exactly what percentage of queries or businesses were affected, Schwartz called this a massive update because he personally saw such a change in his tests over the weekend.
Stay tuned here for an update from HigherVisibility on how many people were affected.
The Penguin Update is still delayed.
If you follow SEO news, you may have seen that a Penguin Update was supposed to roll out sometime this month. For this reason there was a lot of speculation out there that the changes Webmasters were seeing was because of Penguin (another reason Google may have confirmed this core update), but we’re now positive that Penguin still has yet to roll out.
It’s important to understand the distinction between Penguin and a Core Update. If you immediately assume that an update was Penguin, the way you analyze your site will change. You will think you were penalized for spammy content or links (on the flip side, you may have made changes since the last Penguin update and are counting down the days until you’re rewarded for your hard work with another Penguin that will help you!). However, knowing that the Update was really a Core Update means that if your rankings dropped, you’re probably focusing on the wrong factors when it comes to quality. For example, if you focused on link building a lot over the last few months, maybe now is the time to focus more on credibility and content if you were hit with this Core Update. Again, learn more here.
Were you affected by the Core Update? Where did you see the biggest effects? Let us know what changes you saw in the comment section below.